By Laleye Dipo
The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has pledged to continue to accord top priority to the development of education despite other contending demands.
The governor made the pledge when he received the Most Improved State Award In Education for the year 2020, an honour bestowed on him by BusinessDay.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, in Minna on Friday said Governor Bello also pledged to continue to use available resources to “do the needful in the area of education”.
According to the statement, Bello explained that other sectors of the state’s economy required attention, but that: “Education should be given priority and should be continuous from one administration to the other as governance is a continuous process.
“Fixing the education sector is a long term project, but if adequate attention was given to education in the state since the return of democratic government in Nigeria, by now, the story would have been a better one.”
He decried the level of dilapidation of school infrastructure when he took over in 2015, saying his administration had however been able to rebuild “a reasonable number out of the 60 boarding schools in the state aside the Whole School Approach Initiative of the administration that was used to reconstruct and renovate some of the schools”.
The statement commended the BusinessDay for finding him worthy of the award and also appreciated the efforts of the organisation, which he said “carried out an independent investigation into what the state government has done in the education sector”, adding that it should sustain the tempo in order to encourage other leaders to do more.
“This award is a morale booster for me,” the statement quoted the governor as saying, adding that Bello has therefore pledged “not to relent in doing his best for the people of the state as there are high expectations from the people”.
Speaking on behalf of the organisation, the General Manager, Northern Operations, BusinessDay, Mr Bashir Ibrahim Hassan, explained that the organisation carried out its research annually and gets the statistics for all states of the federation on different areas of human development.
Hassan disclosed that in 2020, based on statistics, Niger State came out as the Most Improved State in Education in the country.
The General Manager, according to the statement, enumerated some of the achievements recorded in the education sector by the Bello+led administration to include construction and renovation of over 2,500 classrooms, training of over 3,000 teachers in partnership with Cambridge University, as well as the establishment of The Teachers Professional Training Institute in Mutum-Daya in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state.
Hassan was further quoted as saying the governor equally increased the retirement age of teachers from 60 to 65 years before also commending him for his resilience, determination and commitment to bringing the needed growth and development to the state.
The statement said Mr John Osadolor, the Editorial Director of BusinessDay presented the award on behalf of the organisation.